44 Civil Rights Organizations Name on EEOC to Withdraw Proposed Replace Undermining Non-Discrimination Protections

Viet Tran | Human rights campaign | [email protected]
Lacy Crawford | Civil Rights Lawyers’ Committee under the Act [email protected]
Charmaine Riley | The leadership conference on civil and human rights [email protected]
Maria Patrick | National Women’s Rights Center | [email protected]

WASHINGTON – The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the Human Rights Campaign, the Civil Rights Advocate Committee, and the National Women’s Rights Center have commented on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) proposed updated religious discrimination compliance manual on employment protection for women, colored people, LGBTQ people – Undermine persons, persons belonging to religious minorities or who are not religious, and persons from other minority groups.

In response to the proposed update, the groups made the following joint statement:

“The update proposed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission would create new and unnecessary outsourcing and exemptions from discrimination in the workplace for workers in this country. As published, the flawed and unclear guidelines in the proposed update would approve discrimination against women, color communities, LGBTQ people, those of minority and non-religious beliefs, and other minority groups. The proposed changes contradict decades of case law on Title VII and the longstanding practices of the EEOC’s mission to defend workers against discrimination.

“It is clear that these new guidelines are part of an ongoing campaign alongside the latest regulations from the Department of Labor to prioritize the interests of employers over workers. As organizations working for fairness and equality, we urge the Equal Opportunities Commission to withdraw the proposed update. “

In the EEOC’s decision to make material material changes to an important compliance manual that lacked both transparency and inclusiveness, the Commission undermined the integrity of the proposed update. The EEOC recently announced that it was holding “Dialogue Sessions” prior to the release of the update, but did not publish a list of all organizations that participated in the “Sessions”. A more expansive and timely involvement of other stakeholders would have ensured a balanced variety of viewpoints prior to the publication of the proposed update.

As published, the proposed update contains incorrect guidance on the scope of coverage, including broadening the definition of “religious organizations”, misinterpretation of the scope of the ministerial exception, and lack of adequate guidance on the limited scope of the Restoration of Religious Freedom Act (RFRA ) and the failure to assert that the fight against discrimination is an overriding interest and mission of EEOC; lack of clarification that religious employers cannot use religious objections to engage in discriminatory behavior; the need for more, not less, clarity about preventing employee harassment; and a distortion of the law on reasonable accommodation.

In addition to these comments, a group of 44 civil rights and gender justice organizations submitted comments against the proposed update.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization advocating equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are welcomed as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition made up of more than 220 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all people in the United States. The Leadership Conference works towards an America that is as good as its ideals. More information about the Leadership Conference and its member organizations can be found at www.civilrights.org.

The National Lawyers’ Committee, a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization, was established in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to combat racial discrimination. The main role of the Civil Rights Advocate Committee is to ensure equal justice for all through the rule of law, particularly in the areas of voting rights, criminal justice, fair housing and community development, economic justice and educational opportunities, and hate crimes. More information can be found at https://lawyerscommittee.org.

The National Women’s Rights Center fights for gender equality – in court, in public order and in our society – and works on issues that are central to the lives of women and girls. We are using the law in all of its forms to transform culture and find solutions to the gender inequality that shapes our society and to break down the barriers that harm us all – especially those facing multiple forms of discrimination , including women of color and LGBTQ people and women and low-income families. For more than 45 years we have been at the forefront of all major legal and political victories for women. More information is available at NWLC.org.


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